Active for Life, From the health and wellness experts at IU  

"Back-to-school" isn't just for kids

Nontraditional grad image If you dream of returning to school for a higher education degree, "You are in very good company," said Judith Wertheim, interim dean of the Indiana University School of Continuing Studies. College enrollment by students over age 25 is projected to increase steadily over the next 10 years. Many returning students, however, struggle with doubts about whether they can balance school with work, family and other commitments. Limited time or money, concerns about fitting in, and feeling paralyzed by the application process are common barriers to returning to school. Wertheim offers tips on overcoming these barriers and pursuing your journey of lifelong learning.  Full Story

 If your preschooler acts out in school, sleep disturbances could be to blame

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Inadequate or irregular sleep can contribute to social problems in children, said John Bates, a professor of psychology at Indiana University Bloomington. "Sleep is sometimes a miracle cure," Bates said. "You implement a reasonable bedtime every night and find you have a much more manageable kid." In his work with preschoolers, Bates found that both amount of sleep and consistency of sleep patterns were linked to kids' ability to get along with others, respond to adult guidance and engage in complex tasks. Children who aren't getting enough sleep are more likely to be impulsive and uncooperative.

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 Sexual assault is common at college parties

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As many as one in four women experience unwanted sexual intercourse while attending college in the United States, and many of these incidents happen at or after parties. Despite the dangers, most female students choose to attend parties, because partying and having fun with friends are part of the college experience. The danger of sexual assault arises in part from conflicting expectations between men and women, said Elizabeth Armstrong, an assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University Bloomington. "Female college freshmen come to events expecting to kiss and make out, but the male students often expect sex. These different expectations of sexual contact can create a number of problems, especially when alcohol is involved," Armstrong said.

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 After-school program helps keep middle schoolers off drugs

Youth ages 10 to 14 years who are engaged in after-school substance abuse prevention programs are less likely to experiment with alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, according to researchers at the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at Indiana University Bloomington. "The after-school hours, Monday through Friday between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., are the critical hours for youth across the country," said Randi J. Alter, an IPRC evaluation specialist. "This is a time when adolescents are vulnerable to peer pressure to experiment with alcohol, tobacco or other drugs and to engage in other unhealthy activities due to a lack of adult supervision. Nearly all new drug experimentation in Indiana begins between the sixth and ninth grades, a developmental period when youth are becoming independent but still need guidance."

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 Summer camp 2007: it's never too early to start planning

This is a great time of year to start chatting up parents in the neighborhood or at school about the camps their children attended this summer. "For children with disabilities, the camp experience can help to build self-esteem, make friendships and develop life skills," said Gary Robb, director of the Indiana University-based National Center on Accessibility, which has created two online resources for parents, Discover Camp and University Challenge Courses. NCA provides training, technical assistance and research on the inclusion of people with disabilities in parks and recreation. "While it might be too late to actually attend camp this year, it's a great time to start planning for next summer," Robb said.

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 Previous Issue, August 17, 2006

Follow this link to the previous issue of Active for Life, featuring shifts in drug use among Indiana adolescents, why kids ditch youth sports, coping with stress in professional school, double standards in physical activity expectations for people with mild mental retardation, teen girls pressured into unwanted sex, and an IU graduate student's victory in the Gay Games marathon.

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